Lady of the order of the Pug and Gentleman of the order of Freemasons Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706 - 1775)

1. Lady of the Order of the Pug
Model, June 1744 (form no. 549)
Manufacture and decoration with overglaze colours and gold, Meissen, c. 1745

Crossed swords mark in underglaze blue on the inside of the pedestal
H. 29 cm

2. Gentleman of the Order of Freemasons
Model, September 1743 (form no. 334)
Manufacture and decoration Meissen, c. 1745

Crossed swords mark in cobalt blue on the unglazed underside
H. 30.5 cm


Lady of the Order of the Pug

Johann Joachim Kaendler, work report for June 1744 (fols. 269r–270r):
“5. Cut up a [figure of a] well-dressed lady standing on a pedestal with the 2 little pugs she has with her, thus preparing the said model for moulds to be made” [5. Ein Frauen Zimmer Wie solche auf einem Postament Wohl angekleidet stehet gehöriger maßen zerschnitten sammbt denen 2. bey sich habenden Mopßhündgen, und solches Modell gehöriger Weise zum abformen zu bereitet] (Pietsch 2002, p. 103)

Johann Joachim Kaendler, Taxa:
“1. Lady of the Order of the Pug, standing on a pedestal and holding a pug in her left hand, and another pug lying at her feet, for the Princess of Herfordt, 10 thalers” [1. Dame von Mopß Orden, auf einen postament stehend in der lincken Hand einen Mopß Hund haltend, auch einen zum Füßen liegend, vor die Printzeßin von Herfordt, 10. Thlr.] (Rafael 2009, p. 61, no. 182)

Basel, Historisches Museum, Depositum der Pauls-Eisenbeiss-Stiftung (Menzhausen 1993, p. 115; Pietsch 2002, illus. p. 138); Bern, Historisches Museum, Sammlung Kocher, inv. no. 27888 (Wyss 1965, pp. 81–82); Hamburg, formerly Sammlung Emma Budge; Hartford, Conn., Wadsworth Atheneum, Pierpont Morgan Collection, inv. no. 1917.1328 (Roth 1987, p. 142, no. 43); Cologne, Kunstgewerbemuseum, until 1925 Sammlung Darmstädter (Erichsen-Firle 1975, p. 119, no. 124; Köllmann 1970, p. 74, gold ornament in the pedestal); London, Fenton House; London, Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. no. C.796–1936; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Untermyer Collection, inv. no. 64.101.49 (Hackenbroch 1956, pp. 27–29, plate 22); Sèvres, Musée national de Céramique (exh. cat. Dijon 2001, p. 63, no. 60)

Standing on a separate plinth on top of a high rectangular base with canted corners and concave sides is a lady in an elegant robe à la française or sack-back gown. Over a purple crinoline she is wearing a salmon-pink dress with a pattern of indianische Blumen and white facings edged with gold. The ruffles of her linen chemise are clearly visible above her purple bodice and below her sleeves. Over the closely coiffed locks of her dark-brown hair she is wearing a white ruche bonnet; the black silk ribbons around her neck and wrists are her only purely decorative accessory.
The lady is accompanied by one pug that is looking out from under her skirts and another that she is holding on her left arm, supported by the wide pannier under her gown. Both dogs are wearing blue collars, a colour closely associated with the Freemasons.
She is clearly identifiable as a member of the Order of the Pug, not only because her eyes are turned to her left towards the companion the gentleman Freemason modelled one year before but also because of the two dogs.
The Order of the Pug was founded in 1740 by, it is presumed, Elector Clemens August of Cologne (1700–1761) as a cover organisation for the Freemasons following their excommunication in 1738 by Pope Clement XII. For the first time, membership became open to women. The Order received its name because in court circles the pug stood for loyalty, reliability, and steadfastness.
The members even called themselves pugs, novices being introduced to their lodge on leads after having to scratch on the door in order to be let in. They were then led blindfold nine times around a carpet woven with symbols while the dogs and bitches of the lodge yapped and barked to test the candidate’s steadfastness. At the ceremony of admission they then had to kiss a pug under its tail as an indication of their commitment, for which purpose the Meissen manufactory was considerate enough to provide specially made porcelain figures.
The members of the Order wore (concealed) a silver pug dog as a medallion. In 1745 the secrets of the Order were leaked through the publication in Amsterdam of the book L’ordre des Franc-Maçons trahi et le Secret des Mopses revélé, which contained details of the rituals and two prints.
The list of Kaendler’s after-hours work known as the “Taxa” records that the model was commissioned by a certain “Prinzessin von Herfordt,” who has been identified with Princess Henriette Amalie of Anhalt-Dessau (1720–1793), daughter of Prince Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau (1676–1747), known for his services to the Prussian army as “the old Dessauer.” At the age of twenty-one, Henriette Amalie was sent into exile after she had given birth to a child and refused to marry the father, a master of the princely hunt below her social station (Wienert 2002). For twelve years she lived in the “freiweltliche Stiftung” or religious foundation for noble ladies at Herford, before settling in Bockenheim near Frankfurt am Main, where through her activities as an agriculturalist she acquired a great fortune that enabled her to build up a remarkable art and natural history collection.
The lady who ordered the figure may equally well have been Johanna Charlotte of Anhalt-Dessau (1682–1750), born a princess of the Ascanian line of the house of Anhalt-
Dessau and by marriage Margravine of Brandenburg-Schwedt. From 1729 until her death she was Princess-Abbess of Herford.
There is no evidence for the claim made in Hackenbroch 1956 and Wyss 1965 that the ban on the Freemasons was revoked “shortly after 1745,” leading to the dissolution of the Order of the Pug. On the contrary, the ban imposed on the Freemasons was reinforced by Pope Benedict XIV in 1751 in the papal bull Providas Romanorum.

Gentleman of the Order of Freemasons

Johann Joachim Kaendler, work report for September 1743, fols. 230b(r)–230c(r):
“9. Did further modelling on a Freemason who has a pug-dog standing next to him, with a leather apron and the customary instruments” [9. An einem Frey Maurer poußiret Welcher einen Mopß Hund Neben sich stehen hat, Nebst Schurz fell und gewöhnlichen Instrumenten] (Pietsch 2002, p. 99)

Johann Joachim Kaendler, Taxa:
“1. Freemason with leather apron and other accessories standing well dressed upon a pedestal, holding a ground plan in one hand, next to him another pedestal on which are lying a set square, a trowel, compasses, plumb line, and the like, 6 thalers” [1. Frey Maurer mit Schurzfell und anderer Zubehör auf eim postament wohl angekleidet stehend, in der einen Hand einen Grund Riß habend, neben welchen ein postament, darauff Winckel-Haacken, Transpoteur, Circul, Bley Waage und dergl. liegen, 6 Thlr.] (Rafael 2009, p. 54, no. 106)

1770 inventory of the Japanese Palace, fols. 24/25:
“A Freemason with a pedestal and upon it a set square, measure, and a plumb line / and a little dog lying down, 12¾ inches tall, no. 437” [Ein Frey-Maurer, mit Postament worauf ein Winckel, Maaß, und Bley-Waage, ingleichen / ein Hundgen lieget, 12¾ Zoll hoch, No. 437] (Boltz 1996, p. 43)

Basel, Historisches Museum, Depositum der Pauls-Eisenbeiss-Stiftung, without pug (Menzhausen 1993, p. 113; Pietsch 2002, illus. p. 143); Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Porcelain Collection, inv. no. P.E. 180, without pug (Pietsch 2006, pp. 22–23, no. 17); Hamburg, formerly Sammlung Budge, without pug; Hamburg private collection, without pug (exh. cat. Hamburg 1982, p. 208, cat. no. 218); Hartford, Conn., Wadsworth Atheneum, Pierpont Morgan Collection, inv. no. 1917.1353, without pug (Roth 1987, p. 143, no. 44); Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, without pug (Franzius 1977, plate 7); Cologne, Kunstgewerbemuseum, inv. no. Ov. 29, without pug (Erichsen-Firle 1975, p. 118, no. 123; Köllmann 1970, p. 74, gold ornament on the base); Mannheim, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum (REM), without pug; Naples, Palace of Capodimonte, Sammlung Ciccio; Lustheim, Sammlung Prof. Ernst Schneider, inv. no. 2205, with pug-dog and a hammer in the gentleman’s right hand (mus. cat. Lustheim 1972, fig. 31); New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Irwin Untermyer Collection, inv. no. 64.101.50, without pug (Hackenbroch 1956, p. 30, plate 23); Sammlung Hermann Emden, a larger pug in the place of the pedestal; Sèvres, Musée national de Céramique
On a tall pedestal with canted corners and concave sides, a gentleman of the court with wig and three-cornered hat is standing on a separate plinth in front of a tree stump adorned with flowers. In addition to his frilly white shirt, gold-coloured waistcoat with colourful indianische Blumen and light grey justaucorps with a pattern of small black flowers and turned-up cuffs, the said gentleman is also wearing a gold-edged white leather apron over his breeches that would be triangular in shape if unfolded. A golden set square is hanging from the blue ribbon around his neck. His right hand is raised with a meaningful gesture to his mouth, while with his left hand he is placing a pair of compasses on a pedestal bearing a set square and a plumb line. The large and small pedestals have sunked lateral surfaces that are painted in imitation of marble.
From around 1715, the spread of Enlightenment ideas all over Europe from England led to the foundation of the Freemasons, whose members were committed to seeking to improve themselves and to living a life oriented towards the ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity, tolerance, and humanity. The name derived from that of the stonemasons and builders known as freemasons in medieval England. Their symbols were the mason’s trowel, the set square, and the compasses. At their meetings, the Freemasons wore a leather apron over their normal clothing as a sign of hard work, protection from injury, and chastity. An edging to the apron indicated the status of the member, who started with the rank of Entered Apprentice and rose to become a Fellow Craft (blue) and then Master Mason (blue with three rosettes).
The first lodge in the German-speaking lands was founded in 1737 in Hamburg and was given the name “Absalom” in 1740. The year 1738 saw the foundation of the Dresden lodge “Aux trois aigles blancs” by Friedrich August von Rutowski (1702–1764), illegitimate son of Augustus the Strong and his Turkish mistress Fatima. There were so many candidates for membership that the following two years saw the foundation of two further lodges. In 1740, at the instigation of Frederick the Great (1712–1786), there followed the foundation of the mother lodge “Zu den drei Weltkugeln” (“The Three Globes”) in Berlin. By 1754, the number of lodges in Germany had risen to a total of nineteen.
Within a lodge, a member’s social status was not considered so important as his measure of self-knowledge. We do not know whether for the present figure Johann Joachim Kaendler modelled a particular member of the Dresden or another lodge. However, his magnificent clothing with fine patterns that were
a superlative achievement on the part of the manufactory decorators indicates that he must have been intended to represent a high-ranking member of the nobility.
The fact that the model appears in the list of porcelain pieces delivered to the Japanese Palace for the Polish king and Saxon elector Augustus III suggests that many members of the court were sympathetic to the Freemasons, possibly even Augustus III himself.
Many examples of the present model (see above) have a small pug dog sitting between the Freemason’s legs, the pug being the declared symbol of the movement. Variants are also known that have a larger pug in place of the pedestal (formerly Sammlung Emden, most recently Christie’s London, 24 February 2003, lot 104).
The presentation of the gentleman with raised right hand and outstretched index finger appears to be very rare, the only example known to the present author being a decorated figure at the Austrian Museum of Freemasonry at Schloss Rosenau near Zwettl.


Erichsen-Firle 1975
Ursula Erichsen-Firle, Figürliches Porzellan. Kunstgewerbemuseum der Stadt Köln, Köln 1975

Exh.-cat. Dijon 2001
Un cabinet de Porcelaines. Porcelaines de Saxe dans les collections publiques parisiennes, Katalog zur Ausstellung im Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, 16. Juni–1. Oktober 2001, Dijon 2001

Exh.-cat. Hamburg 1982
Hermann Jedding, Meissener Porzellan aus Hamburger Privatbesitz, Katalog zur Ausstellung im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, 4. Juni–5. September 1982, Hamburg 1982

Franzius 1977
Walter Franzius, Porzellanfiguren des 18. Jahrhunderts – eine Auswahl aus den Sammlungen des Badischen Landesmuseums, Karlsruhe 1977

Köllmann 1970
Erich Köllmann, Der Mopsorden, in: Keramos 50 (1970), S. 71–82

Menzhausen 1993
Ingelore Menzhausen, In Porzellan verzaubert. Die Figuren Johann Joachim Kaendlers in Meißen aus der Sammlung Pauls Eisenbeiss Basel, Basel 1993

Mus.-Kat. Lustheim 1972
Schloss Lustheim: Meissener Porzellan-Sammlung. Stiftung Ernst Schneider. Führer durch die Schausammlungen des Bayerischen Nationalmuseums München, Filialmuseum Lustheim, München 1972

Pietsch 2002
Ulrich Pietsch, Die Arbeitsberichte des Meissener Porzellanmodelleurs Johann Joachim Kaendler 1706-1775, Leipzig 2002

Pietsch 2006
Ulrich Pietsch, Die figürliche Meißner Porzellanplastik von Gottlieb Kirchner und Johann Joachim Kaendler. Bestandskatalog der Porzellansammlung Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, München 2006

Rafael 2009
Johannes Rafael, Zur »Taxa Kaendler«, in: Keramos 203/204 (2006), S. 25–69

Roth 1987
Linda Horvitz Roth, J. Pierpont Morgan, Collector. European Decorative Arts from the Wadsworth Atheneum, Wadsworth Atheneum 1987

Wienert 2002
Marlies Wienert, Rezension der Arbeitsberichte von J. J. Kaendler, in: Antiquitäten-Zeitung Nr. 11, 2002, S. 515

Wyss 1965
Robert Wyss: Porzellan. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Kocher. Deutsches Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts im Bernischen Historischen Museum, Bern 1965.

REF No. 102